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March 7, 2007

Scottie Reynolds

Curtis Sumpter

Jay Wright


JAY WRIGHT: I'll look at the stats here as we ask questions, I didn't get to see this yet. But just a classic BIG EAST battle. I think that DePaul -- we played early in January, they kind of handled us and when you play a good team like that, you learn about yourselves, and they taught us a lot. We just were not tough enough back then. They got a lot better and we got a lot better. It was good to see the improvement in our team.
They are good. They are playing great basketball. Jerry has done a great job with that team and that's why I feel it's a good win. They know what they are doing out there. They are very good defensively, get the ball to the right people and that was good for us to beat a team like that.

Q. Over the last three games you guys have really shown you're able to close out close games which you didn't show earlier in the season, can you talk about the growth there?
JAY WRIGHT: I think that's just due to chemistry. You know, just being -- for you guys, or beat writers, I keep saying the same thing but it's the truth. It's just getting Curtis back into practice so we can play together and we know where people are. That's why DePaul is so good, they know where their scorers are and to get the ball to the people in the right spots. When Curtis was hurting we were always questioning down the stretch, "Do we go to him?" "How bad is his shin?" "How bad is his hamstring?" We knew we wanted to go to him, we were always trying to figure how. And Scottie was young, and we're starting to get some chemistry. We're starting to know about ourselves.

Q. It looked like Reggie twisted his ankle, what's up with that?
JAY WRIGHT: I didn't hear but he got back in there. It's probably one of those things that it will swell up tonight, and he's a pretty tough kid. I think we have a chance of Mike being better tomorrow. We have to make that decision today because we knew if we tried to play him today, he could get worse, and maybe not for tomorrow, but maybe down the road. So we had a chance of him getting better. Reggie, I haven't heard yet.

Q. You mentioned being tougher this time facing DePaul; did you do anything schematically, different to attack them in a different way?
JAY WRIGHT: Not really. We defended a little bit. Last time, it was scary watching that film last time. They just shot over everybody. I didn't think last time we did a good enough job as a staff, understanding their personal. But I know Jerry pretty well and we are good friends. I don't know if we knew his personnel well back then and it kind of confused us. This time we are a better team and we knew who was who.

Q. Do you feel like it was an opportunity to --
JAY WRIGHT: Our two games with Georgetown, when we beat them at Georgetown, they played a much better game than us. We kind of got lucky down there.
When we played at home, I thought we played a great game. We just could not finish it as we were talking about. So obviously both teams have gotten better.
We've just had two great games. This is going to be a battle, man. That's what it's all about when you get here.

Q. How different do you feel from when you watched that game and personally?
CURTIS SUMPTER: From the first game we played? I feel a lot more confident, like Coach said, back then we were not sure who to go to at certain times but now we're positive. We know who we want to get shots for.
Our defense was not as great as it is now, and I think over time, we've gotten a lot better and that helped us out today.

Q. You talked about the chemistry before. How did you feel about the chemistry today with Mike off the floor so much?
JAY WRIGHT: That's a good question. We were saying to ourselves on the bench, the coaches, we were just saying, "we're just missing Mike's attitude out there." It's quiet, it was quiet out there. Mike's always talking, calling everything.
Scottie knows what we're doing and he can run the show. But Mike's just like another coach out there, and we kept saying that. We were thinking about, should we just put him in there to give Scottie a rest just for his attitude, his confidence; he's screaming out there all the time. That was the difference.
But the other part of it is Reggie Redding lives with him and Shane and those guys, the young guys -- we've gotten freshmen and sophomores that are kind of like a little cult and we have our seniors who take care of those little babies.
So Reggie fits in really well out there with Scottie and Shane and Dante.

Q. Can you just sum up your feelings this year as opposed to a year ago when you watched this tournament?
CURTIS SUMPTER: I think anybody who has ever been hurt knows, you know, when you're sitting down and watching the game, it hurts a lot but when you're out there playing, you're just happy to be out there and you want to win.
I just was a little disappointed that last year could I not help my team win, but this year I'm able to help my team win?

Q. Can you talk about what you saw from Reggie tonight and how he fits out there?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Yeah, like Coach said, me and him are roommates and we're always talking. You know, when Mike's out there, he's more passive in the offense and things like that.
But tonight, he had to come in and fill some big shoes, and he did. He did a great job. The only thing I had to say to him was, you know, be aggressive and you know, he made some tough plays. He was playing good D.
I was proud of him, to be his roommate, I guess. (Laughing) No, I was real proud of him and to make plays for us and to, you know, hit a big shot at the shot clock showed his toughness?

Q. Can you talk about being sent to the free throw line a million times and making them and how the 33 out of 38 affected the whole game?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I was just trying to be aggressive. I kind of like -- a switch kind of turned on in me where I just wanted to be more on aggressive on the ball. It ended up where I was going to the line, and, you know, it worked out, I guess.

Q. In a game like this where there is not a lot of flow because of all the free throws, do you worry about your guys losing focus in a game like this?
JAY WRIGHT: You do. You always worry about that offensively. You worry about getting out of the rhythm when you're just standing on the foul line and the same guy is shooting free throws because no one else is touching the ball. You do worry about that.
However, if it does get into a free throw shooting contest, usually we're pretty good. That gave me confidence. You know, we talked about finishing games. If we can get into a position where we've got the lead, we're usually pretty good, because our big guys shoot well. Most teams have guards that shoot well, but Curtis, Dante, Wilshire, they all shoot the ball well.

Q. Is it a little ironic that Scottie is the one telling Reggie to be more aggressive offensively? Do you have to prod him to be more aggressive and does that show his growth?
JAY WRIGHT: Definitely. He knows what he's supposed to do, he just doesn't do it all the time in terms of being aggressive. Recently he has been and we've all seen it.
With Reggie it's different. Reggie is always ready to go. It's us holding Reggie back saying, "Reggie, not yet." When he gets a chance like this today -- he's the all-time leading scorer at St. Joe's Prep, there have been a lot of great players there. He's ready to go.

Q. What was the key to the way you started the game and in the second half the way you guys came out? They seemed to have more momentum going into halftime.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: We came out just -- I thought we had some good shots. You know, me and Curtis were kind of mixing our drives and our threes up, but they were not falling for us. We went down to the lane, just rolling off rim and they kind of got on a run and made it like a two-point game.
In the second half I thought we were more aggressive in attacking off the rim and off the dribble and not just settling for threes all the time. Dante did a great job in the second half, just try to get him in the post and, you know, try to take the pressure off of me and Curtis on the perimeter and he made some big plays for himself, for Curtis and for myself?

Q. How anxious have you been in practice to play?
CURTIS SUMPTER: I'm anxious to get a shot at the next opponent, I'm ready already. Knowing it's Georgetown and our previous two games and how it ended, I think we match up with them pretty well. You know, it's just going to come down to who rebounds the ball better and who wants it more tomorrow?

Q. You mentioned the cult of freshmen and sophomores, I don't know if that's like skull and bones or anything like that, but when you get into this kind of a situation where it's a grind, how much do you count on your upperclassmen to help get them through what they are going to be going through?
JAY WRIGHT: A lot. And I think sometimes people refer to us as a young team, and we never want to use that as an excuse, because we have three great seniors. Not just very good players and a great player in Curtis, but leaders that can talk to these guys. Even coming into the lobby of the hotel, you could see that the freshmen and sophomores are like giggling and Curtis and those guys were just business and we talked to them right away about that. They passed that on and it's very important for our team and our program.

Q. Given the nature of this tournament, if you don't have Mike tomorrow -- it's a lot of shots and a lot of minutes --
JAY WRIGHT: That's what this tournament is all about, staying fresh, it's exactly what I talked to them about in the locker room. Go back, lay in bed, drink liquids. No one is going to be on their feet. We'll be watching film and literally we'll be pouring liquids down their throats and they will just be laying around. It will be all mental preparation. We'll go over the film, go over the scouting report but no one will be on their feet.

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